Case winsFormer state Rep. Ed Case defeated fellow Democrat Matt Matsunaga in a winner-take-all special election to fill the two-year term of the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink.
District special election
Matsunaga comes in secondStar-Bulletin staff
Case received 33,002 votes, or 43 percent of the vote, to 23,050 votes for former Sen. Matsunaga for the 2nd Congressional District seat. Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, also a Democrat, came in third with 6,046 votes.
Republican state Rep. Barbara Marumoto came in fourth with 4,497 votes.
Mink died Sept. 28, just after winning the primary on Sept. 21. Mink posthumously won re-election on Nov. 5.
Another special election, held Nov. 30, was to fill the five weeks remaining in her current term. That election, won by Democrat Ed Case, attracted a turnout of only about 13 percent of the 347,922 voters in the district, which covers Leeward, Windward and North Shore Oahu and the neighbor islands.
This election drew 76,328 voters, about 22 percent of the distgrict's 348,342 registered voters.
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The votes cast by the Tanaka family of Kaneohe exemplify the uncertainty of who among 44 contenders were be the next member of Congress representing rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands.
By Diana Leone
Stan Tanaka originally was going to vote for former gubernatorial candidate Ed Case, but decided to pick fellow Democrat and former lieutenant governor candidate Matt Matsunaga because his father, Spark Matsunaga, served in Congress many years and "because his name can probably open more doors."
Cecilee Tanaka said she voted for Case because Matsunaga's last-minute negative campaigning against Case turned her off.
A third Tanaka family member leaving the Castle High voting place yesterday said she voted for yet another candidate, but didn't want to say who it was.
Even the five perceived front-runners in the winner-takes-all special election were hesitant to predict an outcome yesterday after polls closed.
The election is necessary because U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink posthumously won re-election in the Nov. 5 general election. She died Sept. 28 after suffering from viral pneumonia for a month.
Case was elected Nov. 30 to serve the remainder of her current term. Yesterday's election determines who will serve in Congress for the next two years.
An hour before polls closed at 6 p.m. yesterday, Heeia Elementary was showing about 24 percent turnout, while Castle High had 30 percent turnout, according to poll workers.
A survey of nine of the 89 precincts in the 2nd Congressional District at mid-afternoon yesterday indicated a turnout of at least 12 percent, Cadavona said. But since the volume of absentee ballots requested for yesterday's election was more than double that requested for the Nov. 30 election, he expects the turnout actually will be considerably higher.
Election results will be posted at www.hawaii.gov /election as soon as they are available, Cadavona said.
Case, who spent part of a blustery afternoon sign waving in Kaneohe said he was in good spirits about his chances and "getting a tremendous amount of positive response from a diversity of people."
Matsunaga said compared with his recent unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor he feels "we're in much greater control of our destiny in this campaign."
State Sen. Colleen Hanabusa of Waianae makes the third high-recognition Democrat in the race.
"I feel very hopeful," she said yesterday. "People were waving as they went into the polling places and coming out giving us the thumbs up."
Republican Barbara Marumoto, a longtime state legislator, said she thinks a low turnout will favor her as "the leading Republican."
"I think a lot of people got the message -- Democrats as well as Republicans -- that Hawaii would be better off with bipartisan representation in Congress," she said.
Former state Rep. Bob McDermott said he actually thinks that Matsunaga's attacks on Case may have driven some Republicans back to him. Still, he admitted that "we're not expected to win, but it would be a nice surprise if we did."
Case said the lack of turnout could be all the candidates' worst opponent.
"The constituency that I have most advocated for throughout my career is people that want the system to change," Case said. "Sometimes they feel so disappointed in the system that they don't vote. I keep on saying, 'No, you have to vote in order to change it.'"
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